A few days ago, I started doing what I call “dance therapy.” I thought it was my own idea, but today I discovered there really is such a thing. It’s been around since the 1940s and was created as a way for the mind and body to work together. Supposedly, by dancing, people can identify and express their innermost emotions, bring those feelings to the surface and create a sense of renewal, unity, and completeness.
But that’s not what my “dance therapy” is about. I know what my feelings are. (And so do you if you’ve been checking in with this blog occasionally.) I’m still grieving the death of my mate of thirty-four years. We were soul mates: partners in life, in business, in ideology, in exercise — in fact, years ago, before he started losing health, we used to do aerobics together, which for us meant free-style dancing around the living room. I continued by myself for a while, but as he got sicker, I had to stop that form of exercise because most song lyrics made me cry. Even happy songs — especially happy songs — brought tears to my eyes, and I couldn’t deal with that. Not being a natural optimist, (maybe as a Wednesday’s child, I really am full of woe) I needed to fight to stay positive, to focus on what I had rather than what I was losing. In my current situation, though, the loss is so great, it’s not a matter of seeing the glass as half empty rather than half full (if you’ll pardon my use of that odious phrase). It’s a matter of trying to glue a shattered glass back together and hope it holds together as I fill it drop by drop.
I’m not in nearly as much pain as I was seventeen and a half months ago when he died, but I’m still feeling sad and empty despite the friends I’ve made and the trips I’ve taken. (My most recent excursions included a Route 66 Rendezvous, a couple of major county fairs, and a trip to Seattle — so see, I really am going on with my life.) The world still feels different with him gone. I still feel different, knowing he’s not somewhere in the crowd. I will probably always miss him, always yearn to talk with him, always long for the sight of his smile and the sound of his voice, but I don’t want to — can’t — be enchained by my own sorrow forever.
Most songs still bring tears to my eyes, but it no longer matters since many things make me tearful now. Besides, without a song or a dance, what are we? And so, I’ve begun my version of dance therapy. Today I danced to ABBA. (Why is that more embarrassing to admit than that I still cry at times?) I’m not looking for a sense of happiness or even optimism. Nor am I looking for exercise. (For that, I walk, lift, stretch, air bicycle.) My hope is that by moving in rhythm to a few peppy songs most days, I can train myself to feel lighter in spirit. Maybe even learn to have fun — whatever that is.
It’s the best I can do.